Stock photography is a quintessential resource for any designer or photo editor looking to practice their skills, manipulate photos, or create designs for their personal or professional projects. Often times, however, we can spend hours on end looking for the right photos to use for the right projects – making finding great photos a frustrating and time-consuming process.

Finding a high-quality photo from a photographer that knows how to combine great technical skill with professional modeling can be like finding a needle in a haystack. This is especially true when looking through photos on free sites – not paid, premium sites. 

Well, to help simplify the process of finding great stock photos, Ive put together a list of my Top 5 Stock Portrait Photographers on the free stock photo website Pexels.  I’ve included a gallery of a few of my favorite images from each photographer, though I recommend downloading the full-size images directly from their Pexels page (which is linked in their corresponding section). 

5. Sergey Gladky

Country: RUSSIA

 Sergey Gladky (Сергей Гладкий in Russian) is the first photographer on this list thanks in part to his hauntingly beautiful portrait photos. Though his portfolio lacks the depth of others in this list (mostly in terms of total volume of images in his portfolio), his style is dramatic, gritty, and totally unique. His subjects are often laboring intensely over their work, smoking cigarettes, or simply looking pensive and disconnected while staring longingly out the window. If you’re looking for models that appear to be lost in thought or in their work, this is the photographer for you!

4. GODISABLE JACOB

Country: UKRAINE

The next photographer on our list hails from the Ukraine. Godisable specializes in photographing women of color – sometimes posing her models in more modern, western wear and other times staging them in more traditional and colorful dresses. Apart from her beautiful models, the thing that stands out to me the most about this photographer is her wonderful use of color. Her images can contain bright and heavily contrasting colors, while other times she’ll use shades of the same color for subtle yet powerful color palettes.

3. Allan Franca Carmo

Country: Brazil

Our first Brazilian photographer on this list is Allan Franca Carmo! Allan’s work can truly be stunning. In some photos, he combines floral, ornate backdrops with eloquent models for a result that most closely resembles high fashion. His models come from different racial backgrounds and are both male and female – providing a variety of choices for the end-user and a more accurate picture of what today’s world is really like. You’ll find skater, hip-hop, high-fashion, romantic, film-noir, and classic-made-modern vibes throughout this portfolio.

2. RENATO ABATI

Country: Brazil

Another Brazilian photographer makes the list! It seems Brazil has an abundance of both talented photographers and models – providing a wealth of great stock portrait photography to choose from. Renato’s work is anchored by the wonderful personality of his models, who are often smiling or taking on a playful pose throughout his work. His backdrops are often simple, putting the onus on the beauty of his subjects and the contrast of the wardrobe they wear with their environment. In many instances, Renato will uses flowers to provide splashes of colors in his images. 

1. ALI PAZANI

Country: ITALY/IRAN

Topping my list of the Top 5 Stock Portrait Photographers on Pexels is an Iranian photographer currently based in Italy. Ali’s work features breathtaking models and unmatched technical skill. His lighting is always on-point, ranging from soft to natural to futuristic. He primarily uses female models, though he does occasionally showcase male models. His body of work is unmatched in depth and consistency. 

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